List of Super Mario Bros. 3 glitches
This is a list of glitches found in the game Super Mario Bros. 3. For glitches found exclusively in the remake, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, see List of Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 glitches.
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, all names are conjectural.
Underhanded trick (「裏技」)
This glitch is explained in the Super Mario Complete Encyclopedia, a book edited by Shogakukan in collaboration with Nintendo. In the final battle with Bowser, when in Small Mario form or when crouching in the other forms, the lower part of Bowser's body cannot hurt Mario. This glitch works both in the NES version of Super Mario Bros. 3 as well as in its Super Mario All-Stars remake.
This works in the NES version only. If the player loses a life in World 5-, the airship sometimes will move to the other side of Sky Land. If he or she takes the pipe, he or she can not see it. However, if the player goes to the second part of Sky Land, he or she can still see it. This means that the ship will be stuck and out of bounds. 
The player must be Raccoon Mario or Tanooki Mario to perform this glitch. In a level with quicksand, Mario must run and fill the Power Meter, or be using the Magic Wing. Afterward, he must touch the quicksand and jump right after. Flying up, Mario will appear to be walking while flying up and back down. This works in NES and SNES versions.
Boomerang Brothers/Lakitu 1-Up Glitch
When stomping on chains of enemies to get increased points and 1-Ups, if the fifth or later enemy is a Boomerang Brother or Lakitu, it will register as a 1-Up instead of the next point value (i.e. 100-200-400-800-1-Up instead of 100-200-400-800-1000). This can be achieved in World 1-3 and 2-4 with a Boomerang Brother, or 5-7 with a Lakitu. This glitch was fixed in Super Mario All-Stars.
This works on NES and on Super Mario All-Stars. The player must go to World 3-6. When there's a red Koopa Troopa walking near a Brick Block (with another brick block above the first), he or she must throw its shell at the block. It will release a Super Leaf to collect. If the player attempts to break the block, it will not break.
Bricks as Coins
Near the end of 3-3, there is a 2-by-2 assembly of coins. If the player uses a Switch Block to turn them to blocks, and hits either of the lower sets of bricks, the upper two will act as coins.
Bowser Never Dies
Very rarely, if Bowser is defeated with a hammer while he is in midair, he will fly upwards and never return down. Since the timer has stopped, the player will have to reset the game.
Bye Bye, Boom Boom
This works on NES and Super Mario All-Stars. Mario must have a Magic Wing in one of the Boom Boom battles where Boom Boom can fly. When he is about to do so, Mario must be exactly above him. Boom Boom will fly through the ceiling. However, since he is technically not beaten, the Magic Ball will not appear. The player must wait until the time runs out to retry.
Coins as Bricks
This works on the NES version. On 2-3, if Mario activates the Switch Block, then goes to the end of the area that has the two Koopa Troopas in the half-pyramid area, even though all the blocks are turned into coins, touching the coins on this structure will cause them to act like regular Brick blocks.
Death by Magic Wing on World 8-Jets
Default Used Block
In the fortress level of Dark Land, the player must go through several doors in order to battle Boom Boom. There are some Question Blocks which contain items near a door. If Mario hits one of these blocks and enters a door quickly, before the item appears, the next time he goes to that area the block will be permanently used. It will stay there until losing a life or completing the level. This has been known to work in the NES and SNES versions, though it has not been tested in GBA.
Donut Lift Fall-Through Glitch
If Mario is standing on a falling Donut Lift and another Donut Lift is under him, he will simply pass through it. This glitch was fixed in the Super Mario All-Stars update.
Extended 1-Up Mushroom Theme
The player must have Raccoon Mario wag his tail a fraction of a second after collecting a 1-Up Mushroom to hear an extended 1-Up sound effect. The exact moment to wag Mario's tail at 1/12 of a second after the 1-Up icon appears. The two sound effects will conflict, causing the game to play extra notes at the beginning of the 1-Up theme. This glitch only works in the NES version.
The player must use a Magic Wing before entering Bowser's Castle. After climbing the diagonal corridor protected by Roto-discs, before descending, the player should collect the hidden 1-Up Mushroom. Then, the player should crouch and fly between the spent block and the ceiling, then stand up. The player will glide through the wall (This isn't necessary for the trick to work, but makes it easier to continue without losing the Magic Wing powerup). There are actually two separate Bowser rooms and this trick requires that the player makes their way to a specific one. The easier path to Bowser goes through a room with lava and Donut Lifts, but the trick cannot be performed if the player enters the door at the end of that path. The other path to Bowser goes through a room with lava and solid platforms. This is the one where the player should enter the door to Bowser's chamber. However, reaching the correct door / chamber without losing the Magic Wing can be difficult. Normally, reaching this room requires the player to pass a Thwomp that is made more-difficult because the Magic Wing slows the player's descent, causing the player to lose the power-up and the trick cannot be performed. There is a way to reach this room without encountering the Thwomp. The player must take the easier path to the room with Donut Lifts over lava. The must not enter the door to Bowser's chamber. Instead, they should crouch and fly between the statue and the ceiling and the player will be forced through the wall. This will lead to the other Bowser chamber. The player should not squeeze through the ceiling a second time, because the player will be stuck in the side of the screen until the time runs out.
After entering Bowser's chamber, the player should fly straight up, then over the wall to the left. The player will land in Bowser's alternate room and fight him there. He will make belching motions, but will be unable to produce fire. Bowser also can't hurt the player when crouched, so the player can easily defeat Bowser by simply staying crouched in the middle until Bowser's final jump, then simply move out of the way and let Bowser fall through the floor.
This glitch only works in the 2 Player Game of the NES version. After playing the battle mode enough times, both brothers will enter the boxes and ladders bonus stage. When player 1 pauses as a box goes through a plumber, a flame will appear as a captured goal card. Flame cards can be used in combinations that increase the number of extra lives. It can also crash the game if a player gets the 254 lives combo but loses the round.
Fly Through the Wall
This works in the NES and Super Mario All-Stars versions, but not Super Mario Advance 4.
The player has to go to Bowser's Castle. After passing the Donut Lifts, the player will have to take the upper route. The player will follow the route until Mario or Luigi reaches the door at the end. Instead of entering it, the player must fly to the Bowser statue just before it and ducks. The player ducks on top of the Bowser statue, and after doing so the player has to fly through the wall. This will make the player end up in the room that would have been reached if the player had taken the lower route found after the Donut Lifts. In Super Mario Advance 4, there is a block added above the statue, eliminating the opening. Furthermore, each room is a separate map, thus if the player does manage to move through the wall, Mario or Luigi would only go as far as the room's boundaries before losing a life.
Another type of glitch similar to this is also possible. By ducking and jumping at the top right corner of any wall in any level, then releasing the down area on the , the player will go through the wall. For some levels, such as the World 1 Fortress, it acts as a shortcut; for others, it simply leads to an empty area.
A similar glitch can be achieved in World 7-1. If the player has a Magic Wing and crouches above the first Hidden Block containing a 1-Up, Mario or Luigi will pass through the pipe to the right, and then reappear on the left side of the screen. This glitch was removed in Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 by moving the 1-Up one tile to the left.
The player must make sure an N-Spade is put on a position occupied by a fortress on a map, and then play the N-Spade game, and the fortress will be defeated without it actually being done. However, the lock will not open, or alternately the bridge that defeating Boom Boom would build on the map will not be built. As a result, if the fortress that the N-Spade occupied the position of was the second fortress in World 4 or the first or third fortress in World 6, it will be impossible to get to certain areas on the map and the only way to get out of the world will be to use a Whistle. 
Green Brick Block or Donut Lift
This glitch is found in World 3-6. To do this glitch, the player must hit the first red Koopa Troopas in the level, then grab the Koopa Shell and, once the screen scrolls to the Donut Lift on top, throw the shell right and have it hit the coin block below. As long as the player does not step on the Donut Lift below, once the screen scrolls over the coin block at the right time, the bush on the right will turn into a green Brick Block. The green Brick Block will behave like a normal bush. The exact effect can happen with a Donut Lift near bushes, except the player can step on one for a specific amount of time.
This glitch was fixed in Super Mario All-Stars.
Gray Tanooki Mario
As Tanooki Mario, if the player presses right as Mario goes down a pipe, he will turn gray, but not into a statue. However, after the player leaves the pipe, Mario will return to normal.
Gray Hammer Mario
As Tanooki Mario, if the player grabs a Hammer Suit and turns into Statue Mario right before, Hammer Mario will have a monochromatic color scheme, as if he was made of stone. However, he cannot go back up the pipe that leads him out of the room, leaving him trapped. This was fixed in Super Mario Advance 4, but not in Super Mario All-Stars, where Mario turns brown instead of gray.
This glitch can be found in World 6-10, and can be achieved in all versions of the game. The player follows the route until they reach a pipe with the Hammer Suit in it. If Mario enters the secret room and hits the Giant ? Block, then slides into the Hammer Suit, he will still slide even with the Hammer Suit on. This is most likely an unused sprite, because Nintendo possibly wanted Mario to slide with the Hammer Suit, but then it would just impersonate a turtle on its back.
Hit Switch Block from below
If the player flies directly under a block containing a Switch Block, it is possible to get "under" the block and activate the Switch Block from below. This can also be done with Question Blocks with Power-Ups in them. This still works in the SNES remake.
Hitting a Block at the Bottom of the Screen
In World 1-1, there are some Paratroopas. Mario needs to jump on one of them when they are at the highest point of the bounce. Mario will go offscreen and will not come back. He is actually in the bonus area although the screen didn't scroll there. If he hits the block that has the 1-up mushroom, the block is visible on the bottom side of the screen while it's being hit.
Ice Block Magic
Infinite Donut Lift Stand
Infinite Whistles and Infinite Toad Houses/Spade Panels
This glitch has not been tested outside the Super Mario All-Stars version. However, it should be impossible in Super Mario Advance 4 and most likely would require getting a game over on purpose in the original due to the lack of a save feature. In All-Stars, the player must start a new game, get two Whistles, save and quit, then return to this save-game. The castle will remain destroyed, and the Hammer Brother still gone, but all other completed levels, toad houses, and spade panels, will re-open. The player can then re-play level 1-3 to get a third Whistle, and replay any other levels required to get any other extras he or she wishes. The player must then save and quit, return to the game, and repeat these steps as many times as he or she wishes, or until the player's inventory is full.
This glitch works in the Tower in World 5. First, the player must start the level with a Magic Wing. The player must fly to the area full of bricks. (There should be two Micro-Goombas there too). The player must then fly to the pipe, then go above it, and keep going right until they get over the pipe into an area behind it. There is also a brick with a 1-Up Mushroom back here. Over to the left, the player should see a wall of bricks. Mario must then fly over to them and whip them with his tail to make a spot to stand on. The player must then make Mario fly upwards off the screen for a while, he or she will start seeing "invisible" blocks being broken at the very bottom of the screen.
In World 3-9, the player should duck on top of the level's white platform. By doing so for five seconds, Mario drops into the background. The player must then head into the nearby Warp Pipe; Mario comes out invisible on the other side. Mario cannot be seen, but he may also not be harmed by enemies while like this. Additionally, running into an enemy allows the player to see a blue silhouette of Mario.
At the end of the second Muncher level in World 7, Mario must fly up to the top of the thin pipe at the end. By landing, Mario will progressively lose all his power-ups for an unexplained reason until he eventually dies. This glitch is fixed in the remakes.
Koopa shell does not break Brick Block
This glitch is easiest on World 4-1. At the two blocks where the red Koopa walks, the player has to make the brick block and Question Block on the other side be partially showing. Then, the player must kick the red Koopa's Shell into the two blocks. It will bounce off the Brick Block. It works in all versions, and happens because the game is not designed to show only half of the Brick Block breaking sprite.
Koopa in Brick Blocks
This works in the NES version. On 2-3, if the player activates the Switch Block, then goes to the end of the area with the two Koopa Troopas in the half-pyramid structure made out of bricks, when the coins revert back to blocks, both Koopa Troopas will be stuck inside or between Brick blocks and unable to be jumped on. Moving the screen away from this structure and then bringing it back will remedy this glitch.
Mario Water Walk
This glitch works only in the Japanese version. To do this glitch, the player must go to Water Land with at least one Whistle in the inventory. Then, the player must get a Hammer (one of the world's Hammer Brothers owns one) and use it to break a rock blocking the way to the Boat and board it. While in the boat, they should use the Whistle. Mario will be in the Warp Zone. The player can move to left and Mario will leave the place and move him as if in a boat. If the player goes far right, the screen will move and reveal a black background and the world numbers will move too and the game will turn glitchy. Mario can move left again. It will be impossible to reach land again.
Miss the Item
The game can not stand with two or more items in the screen, so, if there is an item in the screen and another appear, the first item will disappear. This glitch works in the NES version and in Super Mario All-Stars.
Off-Screen Misplaced Smoke
With Tanooki Mario or Tanooki Luigi, the player must enter a Koopaling battle, then fly up to off-screen and turn into Statue Mario or Statue Luigi. The "poof" smoke will be in the ground, however, Mario will not be there.
This glitch is only possible in the NES version. This is a glitch from level 3-9. In it, the player plays with the Ice Blocks on the right side of the Pipe as follows: Mario ducks, getting rid of the bottom 3 ice blocks on the right side of the pipe, but keeping the ice block on the far top. Then he must duck and jump and he will suddenly go down the side of the Pipe. Fire Mario can still shoot fireballs, but Mario will not be able to get out of the pipe. The player can just scroll left and right, but Mario will not appear. Moreover, the player will not return to the map screen until 5 minutes after time runs out. This glitch is also possible in levels 5-2 and 7-5.
The glitch was fixed in the remakes by simply shifting the ice blocks away from the pipe and/or changing the shape of the structure.
Pipe death glitch
For this glitch to work, the player must go to any level, but preferably World 3-9, as Super Mario. About halfway through the stage, the player must come across Note Blocks between two Ice Blocks, and hit the middle Note Block from the top to get the Fire Flower out. Remove the Ice Blocks on the right and allow the Bob-omb to walk into the Ice Blocks on the left. The Bob-omb will turn around into the Flower, and if Super Mario touches the Flower and Bob-omb at the same time, he will quickly cycle through: a discolored Frog Mario, Super Mario, and end up as Small Mario.
Power-Up While Getting Hit
If Small Mario takes a Mushroom and is hit by an enemy at exactly the same time, he will get the 1000 points for the Mushroom, and the "get mushroom" sound effect will sound, but he will still die. Similarly, if Mario takes a 1-Up mushroom and dies at the exact same time, the 1-Up chimes will sound, but the game will act as if he just lost a life normally.
Goal Statue Mario Glitch
This glitch is possible in the Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance 4 versions of the game. To perform this glitch, the player must hit the button to transform from Tanooki Mario to Statue Mario right as Mario collects a third panel that matches the other two from the Goal. If done correctly, the ending will play out normal at first, but a single sprite will appear on the screen and the game will soft lock. If the glitch is performed in the Game Boy Advance version, to see the effect the player must watch the replay if it is possible.
"Running in place" Glitch
To perform this glitch, the player must go to World 1-3 and crouch on the silver block. Then the player must run behind the blackness and the player will appear at the hidden room with the Whistle but Mario or Luigi will be "running in place." The glitch will end when the Toad reaches the "Far away land" part in his speech. This glitch works in the NES version in and the Super Mario All-Stars version.
Secret Area Behind Bonus Level
The player must first use the through the wall glitch in the area the Tanooki Suit is found in World 4-5. After reaching the other side of the wall, the player must then jump on top of the bonus area quickly. They then have to leap forward off the top of the wall. They will find a secret area, consisting of a pipe and a level ending. The Super Mario All-Stars version of the room is slightly different.
This can possibly be a leftover of the Japanese version's World 5-1 exit.
This glitch is only possible in the Japanese version of the game. It is recommended that the Magic Wing be used for this. At the end of level 5-1, after entering the warp pipe at the end of the stage, the player must fly up to the top of the of blocks behind the pipe, and run across. The secret area that appears at the beginning of the stage will be below the player, and the sound the treasure box makes when it appears in that area will play. The player must then land back at the bottom of the stage, and head to the end of the stage. The Nipper Plant and Panels will appear glitched. When the stage is completed, a box will appear on one side of the stage. It is possible to make the box land on the side the player will leave the stage and collect its contents, but the "COURSE CLEAR! YOU GOT A CARD" text will appear glitched.
It is impossible to do this glitch in the U.S. version as well as Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario Advance 4, as the goal was moved to the same area as the level.
Shell in the Wall
The exact method to activate this glitch this glitch is uncertain, but in the NES and All-Stars versions of the game, it is possible to throw a Big Koopa Troopa Shell (and possibly an ordinary one) inside a solid wall.
Small to Fiery
This works in the NES and Super Mario All-Stars versions. Whether it works in Super Mario Advance 4 is a meaningless question because a Fire Flower changes Small Mario to Fire Mario normally in Super Mario Advance 4.
This glitch is in level 5-7. The player starts 5-7, and Mario must be Super Mario. Mario must jump into a block to make a Fire Flower without getting it right away. Instead, Mario collects the first coin to the right of the flower and it starts to flash. Then, a Micro-Goomba hits Mario so that he can downgrade to small, and he grabs the flower, and he becomes Fire Mario immediately.
For this glitch to trigger, Mario needs to have a Starman and a Super Leaf. When Mario is using the starman, his jump animation is replaced with a somersault animation regardless of the power he currently has. Mario must be floating down the same time the starman wears off, and once does, Mario must keep floating and if done correctly, Mario will keep somersaulting and floating at the same time until he reaches the ground.
This glitch can be performed in levels 3-8 (as Raccoon Mario) and 6-10. Mario needs to start the level with Starman (without being Small Mario or wearing a Frog Suit). The player must then quickly break a Brick Block with a Beanstalk and climb on it. Mario will still somersault after he loses his Star. This glitch works in all versions of the game, and ends once the player lands after falling off the vine.
In any level with a continuous Starman (e.g. World 7-3), if Mario or Luigi grabs another Star at the exact moment that the music from the previous Star ends, then the next star will still activate, but the level music will continue to play instead of the Starman music.
Firstly, the player must get a Tanooki Suit and use it. Then, they should go to a level which contains a door. They should then turn into Statue Mario right above the door and press up on while in front of it (while Mario still Statue Mario). He enters the door normally, but a small fog will appear above the door and Mario will fall from it.
Stay in or go through a ? Block
If the player stands on a platform that goes directly under a ? Block and hits it, depending on how high they jumped, they eitherend up inside the block or go through it. Either way, an item comes out, and if they get stuck inside a block, a simple jump gets them out. This is possible in level 5-4, near the start.
Strange Death #1
This can be done in NES and SNES versions. Mario must go to World 3-9. He must be small. When there's many Brick Blocks above him, one contains a Super Mushroom. Mario must release it and let in move to another block. He must hit the block the mushroom is on, and a nearby Para-Goomba will automatically fall off-screen, as if Mario defeated it.
Strange Death #2
This works in NES and in Super Mario All-Stars, in World 4-3. The player must play normally until he sees a short row of Brick Blocks, with a Buzzy Beetle on top and an upside-down Spiny on the bottom. Mario must go under the Buzzy Beetle, but be careful not to let the Spiny fall down. If he hits the block with the Buzzy Beetle, the spiny will fall off-screen as if defeated.
In the second fortress of World 5, the player can jump on top of the pipe and up the solid blocks above, becoming wedged between that area and the right side of the screen. The player can then jump to the top of the ceiling and "crush" Mario, losing a life. In SNES, he no longer loses a life.
Tanooki Mario Death
In the beginning of World 5-2, If Mario has a Tanooki suit, he must transform to a statue on the slope, then he slides down the slope to the far left of the screen, and loses a life. This glitch wasn't fixed in Super Mario All-Stars.
This can also be performed with the first slope in World 2-2, although it requires cheats to do so.
This glitch only works in NES version. In World 5-3, with a Super Leaf or Tanooki Suit, the player must hit a Spiny and hold its shell. While doing so, Mario has to get into a Kuribo's Shoe. The shoe will become transparent and Mario's clothes will become black. By kicking the shell, the shoe reverts back to normal.
To do this glitch, the player must land in a Kuribo Shoe while in statue form. Mario will be gray, and everything will play normally, except Mario will be invincible. However, Mario cannot enter pipes, so he needs to obtain another power-up to enter them. This works on both the NES and SNES games.
In World 3-8 or 6-10, hit the block to spawn the Beanstalk, and scroll it offscreen while it is still growing. When the player moves back to the block containing the Beanstalk, its upper half will be cut off.
When Mario's foot catches off a pipe or wall, he can jump again to do a Wall Jump. This is because when the player momentum goes against the wall, the player actually gets partially inside the wall, enough that the game thinks that the player is standing on a solid platform (due to the fact that every non-sprite object in a level is made up of 16x16 pixel blocks, and the player's feet touches the corner of that block as "platforms") before being pushed back out.
Warp Directly to the Princess
In World 7-1, an invisible Pipe can be traveled to directly arrive at the Princess. The glitch is very complicated, and is mainly due to jumping to an unknown region containing an invisible Note Block, resulting in wrong instructions by the game. The game has to have the player place some shells at the right spots, stand at exactly 232-240 on the x-axis, jump to an exact spot, hold a specific shell, and have exact amount of enemies onscreen. The glitch is also made easier if the player is able to fly using a Leaf-related power-up, Tanooki Suit, or Magic Wing, though it is not necessary. If the player manages to enter the invisible pipe, the player will glitch to Princess Toadstool's room. Bowser is never seen throughout the glitch, since the battle is skipped. This glitch is popular among speed runners.
In the Super Mario All-Stars version, the player can enter the invisible pipe; however, it will not warp the player to Peach's room. Instead, the screen will scroll back up, and return the player to another part of the level.
Mario or Luigi must be under the effects of a Magic Wing and go in the water. If he takes damage, his Power Meter will remain full as long as he stays in the water.
White Block Glitch
In the eighth level of Pipe Land, there is a white block. The player must duck on it until they fall in the background and go to the pipes with a Ptooie on two of the pipes. They must into the left one. If done correctly, the player can jump through the block.
White Block Invincibility
This can only be done in the NES version. By jumping down a Fire Piranha Plant-inhabited pipe in World 5-7, the player can use the white block to head behind the scenery. The player must then use the warp pipe to get back to the normal level before this wears off. If done correctly, Mario cannot be touched by anything (power-ups included). 
This glitch seems to only work in world 5-2. To perform the glitch, find the secret Tanooki Suit. Next, get to the end of the level without being harmed. Fly over the goal, and when Mario starts falling, turn into a statue. The smoke from the transformation will appear by the box if done correctly, and Mario will teleport where the smoke was.
Ball sounding Brick Block
In World 5-6, the player should use a Magic Wing to fly right over the entire level. Once the player sees the pipe, drop and hit the Brick Block all the way to the left of the row of bricks above the Pipe. It should make the sound of when a Bob-Omb explodes, and the background will flash pinkish as if the player collected Boom Boom's ball.
Other programming anomalies that are not glitches are listed here.
Hammer Brothers Continuous Movement
If there are two Hammer Brothers on the map and they move into the same space, the game will allow them to move again until they are not on the same space which can lead to them getting stuck with each other and not stopping. This is because the game sets rules for the Hammer Brothers' movement. When the player beats or fails a level, and there is more than one Hammer Brother on the map, then each Hammer Brother will move to an adjacent space. If the space is a fortress, Toad House, Airship, uncleared tile, or already occupied by another Hammer Bro, then they will move one more space, unless that spot has already been cleared or occupied by Mario or Luigi. In that case, they will move again. This will keep going on until the Hammer Brothers find a spot that fits within the rules.
It is possible for a Super Leaf to overlap a pipe. When this happens, and Mario goes through the pipe, Mario will still get the Power-Up. However, since Mario cannot be seen, the smoke is seen without Mario.
Color changing Mario
To perform this glitch Mario must be in the first fortress of World 3. Mario must go through the passage leading to the blue platform above water, and it will change color to the color of Fire Mario or Luigi. However, this does not always happen, and it may take a few tries.
Hammer Brother Moving
To make this glitch occur a Hammer Brother must walk onto a moving Spade Panel. the panel will get stuck to the Hammer Brother and follow it until it stops walking.